Friday, June 16, 2006

I Have Arrived!

So I flew into Izumo via Tokyo.

Haneda Airport was unreal. The humidity was killer. It reminded me of when I flew over in July of 2000 to start working here. I flew Business Class (the first and most likely only time I'll ever do that) and had a really relaxing flight over. The second I stepped off the plane and into the walkway to the airport, I was hit with a gust of hot, wet air. Ick. Bad memories.

(Side note: the Y2K crop of JETs were the last ones to be flown over on Business Class. I love to brag about that to newcomers. The look of sheer disgust is always priceless.)

A run across the airport to the gate to my connecting flight to Izumo left me sweaty and uncomfortable. Lord I hate humid weather.

I got into Izumo around 8. I stepped outside into the warm evening air. I heard "Dustin?" from behind me, so I turned around and saw Imagawa-san's (the guy who runs Filaments over in Matsue) wife. We talked for a couple of minutes, and then she took off for Matsue. I had to laugh, because I had the feeling that there had to be somebody I knew on that airplane.

My friend Kumi met me at the airport and drove me to Izumo. After I checked in to my room, we went out for dinner, swinging by Bamboo to say hi to the Ishibashis. The surprised look on their faces was priceless.

So Kumi and I went to a grill bar called Kiku and had dinner. The master of the place remembered who I was. He saw my buzzcut and asked if I'd been drafted and had come back to Izumo to tell everyone goodbye. I said no (thank the Lord). Dinner was good, and Kumi and I talked for a while before we headed back over to Bamboo.

While we were there, I got a nice little piece of info. Seems that Master got a hold of ten bottles of some REALLY INCREDIBLE awamori.

Awamori is distilled from rice and stored in clay pots. The longer it's stored, the richer the flavor, and the pricier it becomes. This stuff is from a kura (distillery) in Okinawa that found a barrel of awamori in their warehouse. Company records show it being there 13 years ago, but there is no record of it being made. Basically, they have no idea how old it is. And it has a nice amber hue from being stored in the barrel, which is something you never see with awamori. The kura decided to bottle it and sell it off. They got 2000 bottles of it. That's all.

This stuff is 60%. You take it is small sips. Very good, but it'll get ya quick.

I'd really enjoyed the stuff when I tried it, so I (half) jokingly asked, "What's a guy gotta do to get a hold of a bottle of that stuff?"

Master said, "Pay me what I paid, $50, and you can have one."

Hmmm. Only 2000 bottles in existence. Awamori that tastes and looks like whiskey. No idea of how old it is. Damn tasty. And I can get a bottle for $50?

No hesistation. I paid, and now I have my own bottle.

I guaran-damn-tee that this is worth every penny.

But I have to wait until I have good cause to drink it. This stuff isn't something you just kick back and drink.

As is da rigeur with a trip back to Izumo, I made a round of the bars in Daikan-cho. I ran into Kat-chan, who was out drinking with some Yotsugane teachers, and we had a good laugh about me being back. Good times.

I made sure I swung by Ken's Box and caught up with Minako and the gang.

After being out far too late going to this bar and that one, I cruised back to my hotel and went to bed.


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